Collaborative research for the detection of falsified vaccines

A scientist examining a vaccine vial using a SORS device.

An international consortium of multidisciplinary researchers and specialists has developed a new method to counter the problem of COVID-19 vaccine falsification.

There have been numerous instances of vaccine supply chains being infiltrated by falsified products, both for vaccines before the pandemic and for COVID-19 around the globe.

In response to this, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Central Laser Facility (CLF) and partners (including members of the Mass Spectrometry Research Facility), have demonstrated the use of a specialised laser spectroscopy technique to rapidly verify falsified vaccines.

In response to the need to develop new methods to counter falsified vaccines, a consortium of world leading experts convened in 2020 consisting of representatives from:

  • University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry and Kavli Institute for Nanoscience Discovery
  • STFC, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI)
  • WHO, Geneva
  • Agilent Technologies
  • Serum Institute of India
  • University of Huddersfield
  • University of East London

In line with WHO strategy, this multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research consortium has developed a new method of effectively and efficiently detecting falsified vaccines.

Their study, published in the journal Vaccine, demonstrates the viability of the handheld Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS) technique to rapidly authenticate COVID-19 vaccines through unopened vaccine vials.